I’ve been a lawyer for over twenty years, and it is my privilege to represent the rights of the injured. In a world where all too many companies put profits over the safety, health, and lives of individuals, it is my job to ensure those companies take responsibility for the harms they cause.
I grew up in Michigan and was fortunate to have parents who were willing and able to support me in pursuing pretty much any career I wanted. With their help, I graduated from Michigan State with a degree in General Business Administration – Prelaw in 1995, and then from Notre Dame Law School in 1999. After passing the Michigan bar exam, I became a licensed attorney that year.
After practicing for five years with a firm in Traverse City, Michigan, I moved to Indiana to be with my girlfriend, Grace. Grace and I were married in 2006, and together we’ve raised our three children, Bowie, Jacob, and Erin. Bowie and Jacob are now grown and out of the house, but Grace, Erin, and I continue to live in the south side of Indianapolis with our three cats (Rainbow, Comet, and Pocket) and cockatiel (Brunch).
When I moved to Indianapolis, I was lucky enough to be offered a position working with Kathy Farinas in a firm that specialized in helping those injured by asbestos. Kathy and I have worked together ever since, joining DOBS & Farinas in 2021.
When I started practicing asbestos law, I knew very little about the substance. But I quickly learned how deadly it was, and the devastation it could cause for those who were exposed to it. The first client I had the honor to meet passed away the very next day from mesothelioma. That experience helped solidify just how important my job is, and how serious my responsibility. While I can never give someone back their health, or bring back a loved one, I can hopefully make things just a little bit easier for our clients going forward.
In 2015, I argued before the Indiana Supreme Court in the consolidated cases Myers v. Crouse-Hinds and General Electric vs. Geyman. Prior to these cases, asbestos product manufacturers were immunized from legal responsibility in Indiana by a “statute of repose.” This repose statute cut off victims’ rights before they were even aware they were sick. This law was grossly unfair, and I had the privilege of arguing before the Supreme Court that it was not constitutional. The Supreme Court agreed and restored the rights of Indiana residents to hold product manufacturers responsible for the injuries, illness, and death which they caused by selling toxic products. Since Myers and Geyman, numerous Indiana residents injured by asbestos and similar products have successfully pursued their claims against these deadly product manufacturers.
In 2010, I successfully argued before the Court of Appeals in Erwin v. Roe, a case which established many rights for tenants and minor children renting homes with lead-based paint. In this case, the Court of Appeals for the first time formally recognized that landlords must warn their tenants about their properties’ known or potential lead hazards. This decision ensured that lead poisoning victims, usually children, may hold landlords responsible for failing to disclose their properties’ dangerous lead conditions.
Other highlights of my career include writing the legal arguments for appeals concerning the Indiana Construction Statute of Repose (Gill v. Evansville Sheet Metal) and premise owners’ responsibilities to persons on their property (Myers v. Bremen Casting). In both cases, companies sought to avoid responsibility for their use of deadly asbestos. In both cases, the Indiana Supreme Court (in Gill) and the Court of Appeals (in Myers) sided with my clients, issuing decisions that allowed those injured by asbestos to present their cases to a jury.
My work for Indiana workers and families is not just for our clients. On multiple occasions, I’ve volunteered my time representing the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association (“ITLA”) on behalf of injured persons. In these cases, I’ve worked pro bono (without a fee) to explain to the appellate courts how their decisions could affect persons other than the specific parties to the appeal.
I am also an active member of the Marion County Mass Torts Local Rules Committee. Kathy Farinas and I are the only two attorneys representing asbestos victims on that Committee, which was established to create and revise the various Local Rules which govern nearly every asbestos case in Indiana.
Finally, I’ve spent significant time talking or testifying to legislators in an attempt to make sure the laws they pass are fair and necessary. Unfortunately, numerous insurance and business lobbying groups have spent significant resources trying to get unfair laws passed. If passed, these laws would give business unfair advantages in trials, make cases much more expensive to bring on behalf of the injured, or even outright immunize companies from responsibility for the harms they’ve caused. So one of the most important things I can do is to make sure legislators understand exactly how the laws they vote on will affect individuals and their families.
My goal for our clients is always to maximize their recovery in an honest, ethical, and timely manner. I understand the difficulties and traumas clients face, and the stress a lawsuit can bring. I believe it’s my job not just to know the law, but to help and counsel injured clients and their families during difficult times.
Michigan State University, BA with High Honor, 1995
University of Notre Dame Law School, JD, 1999
Western District of Michigan, 2001
Central District of Illinois, 2002
Northern District of Indiana, 2005
Southern District of Indiana, 2007
Indiana Trial Lawyers Association – Board of Directors and Legislation Committee member
American Association for Justice
Marion County Mass Torts Local Rules Committee
Presentations and Volunteer Activities
Indiana High School Mock Trial Competition – Judge
Decatur High School – We the People classroom judge and speaker
South Bend Landlord Association – Guest Speaker on Lead Hazards and Disclosure Obligations
Midwest Asbestos Litigation Seminar – Speaker “Updates to Indiana Asbestos Law”
Converse v. Elkhart General Hospital, 120 N.E.3d 621 (Ind. Ct. App. 2019) (for amicus curiae Indiana Trial Lawyers Association)
Dalton v. Myers, 65 N.E.3d 1142 (Ind. Ct. App. 2016)
Erwin v. Roe, 928 N.E.2d 609 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010)
Gill v. Evansville Sheet Metal, 970 N.E.2d 633 (Ind. 2012)
Myers v. Bremen Casting, 61 N.E.3d 1205 (Ind. Ct. App. 2016)
Myers v. Crouse-Hinds, 53 N.E3d 1160 (Ind. 2016)